Four stay-away orders for Occupy Cal protesters lifted

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Four of the 12 stay-away orders barring Occupy Cal protesters from the UC Berkeley campus were lifted Monday.

The stay-away orders for BAMN organizer Yvette Felarca and UC Berkeley students Joshua Anderson, Zakary Habash and Jasper Bernes were all lifted Monday, according to Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick.

The orders were issued to 12 of the 13 charged protesters at a series of arraignments last month and prevented the protesters from being within 100 yards of UC Berkeley property except for class and work-related activities. UC Berkeley associate professor of English Celeste Langan was the only one who was charged but not barred from campus.

BAMN attorneys filed a motion and supporting briefs March 23 on behalf of three — Felarca, Anderson and Habash — of the protesters contending that the orders are unconstitutional.

“(The orders) set dangerous precedents,” reads the brief. “If allowed to stand, these ‘bail conditions’ will allow the University of California and the DA to ban any individual from entering a public university and exercising his or her First Amendment rights, simply by asserting that the individual is associated with a group that has supposedly committed misdemeanors.”

A hearing was originally scheduled for the motion Tuesday, but according to BAMN attorney Ronald Cruz, the orders were lifted Monday after he met with the district attorney.

“The school year is nearing an end, and final exams are beginning shortly,” Drenick said. “We do not believe that campus safety will be jeopardized by the lifting of the stay-away order.”

The protesters held a press conference Monday afternoon to “celebrate the victory,” according to Cruz.

“(The stay-away orders) had to go because they were absolutely outrageous attacks clearly aimed at forcing the privatization and resegregation of higher education,” Cruz said.

A number of representatives and candidates from SQUELCH!, Student Action, Students for a Democratic University, CalSERVE and the Defend Affirmative Action Party were also present at the press conference to make statements regarding the lifting of the stay-away orders.

“To have the administration define what free speech is obviously a ridiculous assumption,” said SDU presidential candidate Honest Chung.

Felarca said that in addition to pushing for the lifting of all stay-away orders and the dropping of all charges, there will be a rally at noon on Sproul Plaza Friday calling on the university to double minority enrollment.

CalSERVE presidential candidate Andrew Albright also called for the charges against the student protesters to be dropped.

Cruz said he expected that the eight other protesters would also have their stay-away orders lifted.

Drenick, however, said the fate of the remaining eight stay-away orders would be determined on a case-by-case basis.